Coming to pass MKO-run media bureaus in the Europe and also among the member residents of Camp Ashraf we encounter young people that hardly you can see any relative correspondence between their age and the atmosphere wherein they are exhausting their juvenile vigorousness. These youths, who can be well denominated as the fourth generation of Mojahedin, represent the same enthusiast and decisiveness of their previous generation. Furthermore, their amazing authority over organizational doctrines and teachings is in no way a deniable fact nor a media display to attract attentions. Many may ask, then, who are they and how they have been so experienced, being so young, in organizational, political and ideological issues.
In the history of political movements, Mojahedin are believed to be the sole organization that the impact of their activities has imposed heavy costs on whoever is in the reach of its surroundings. In the same way, the tragic destiny of children in MKO, before and after the ideological revolution, has not been investigated sufficiently. Political, fundraising as well as emotional exploitation of children by Mojahedin is one of the cases reported by many former MKO members as instances of human rights abuses in MKO.
The general consensus of opinion is that children should enjoy complete immunity from any form of manipulation and abuse. Human rights institutions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have repeatedly confirmed that children are entitled to special care and assistance and that especial measures have to be taken to protect children from all forms of physical and mental abuse, maltreatment and exploitation.
After the ideological revolution, Mojahedin concluded to separate children from their parents in an attempt to destabilize the foundation of family which the group believed to be a strategic impediment. The U.S first invasion to Iraq was a good alibi to accomplish the goal. The evacuation of children to other countries under the pretext of providing safety and security for them not only guarantied the accomplishment of the ideological objective but also paved the way to upbring and discipline the organization’s future combat force. Now, after two decades, the various dimensions of such an action have been fully revealed. Mojahedin’s attempt to undertake the guardianship of the children whose parents have separated from the organization signifies Mojahedin’s exploitative nature concerning the children. A number of former members of MKO have elaborated on the various dimensions of the group’s inhuman practices. Ann Singleton in her “Saddam’s private army” well refers to the process of separating babies from their parents as part of speeding up the application of the Internal Revolution:
More cynically still, Rajavi used the Gulf War as a pretext to have all the children removed from the bases in Iraq. The children had acted as a brake on the application of the Internal Revolution. Whilst the children were around, it provided an excuse for spouses to meet up in a family context. There was the possibility for ‘divorced’ couples to continue a covert relationship. Rajavi wanted the total devotion of everyone with no rivals. For him, the children represented his most dangerous rivals for their parents’ affections and loyalties. So on the pretext of having them evacuated to safety during the allied bombing, he had children even as young as two months old, sent abroad where they were adopted by Iranian families or kept in dormitories. (1)
However, that is not the full dimension of the oppression suffered by children at the hands of Mojahedin. The potential and practical European laws and regulations concerning the children granted Mojahedin an opportunity to exploit the European governments as well as citizens. The Europe provided MKO the best milieu to educate children for its cult-like purposes. But under drastic measures and vigilance of related state-run institutions the real intention of MKO is exposed for the public:
In Germany, the government uncovered the Mojahedin’s financial activities. After a two year investigation, the German High Court on 21st December 2001 closed the Mojahedin ‘shop’ – twenty-five houses and bases – after evidence was found of misuse of Social Security and fraud. Disturbingly, the Mojahedin had used the members’ children who had been evacuated during the Gulf War of 1991. These children, whilst they lived in the Mojahedin’s bases in Germany, were required to undertake work in the base and take part in fund-raising activities, collecting money in the street. At the same time, the Mojahedin were abusing every possible avenue of Social Security in Germany in order to claim benefits for these children. Documents in Germany showed that ten to twelve million Marks had been used by the Mojahedin to buy weapons. Considering that a Social Security claim of 130 – 260 Marks could be made per child per day, this is a conservative figure of the amount that the Mojahedin collected on account of these children. (2)
Further appalling aspects of MKO’s abuse of children include application of brainwashing techniques to indoctrinate them with subversive organizational ideologies to be later recruited into NLA based in Camp Ashraf. The two instances of self-immolation by Neda Hassani in England and Yaser Mohammadi in Camp Ashraf can be mentioned as explicit consequences of children trained according to mentioned techniques. The low age of these two young victims confirms the terrible process the children have gone through in the European and Iraqi camps. Of course, any raised objection was neutralized by a variety of tricks. According to Ann Singleton, Mojahedin shaped the destiny of these young victims by means of preplanned ideological, political, military, as well as terrorist schemes:
Some of the older children soon returned to Iraq and though still under-age, became members of the NLA. They were expected to ‘reject’ their parents as part of the new ideology. In other cases, a parent bravely refused to be separated and decided to accompany their children abroad. As usual, although the Mojahedin denounced these people as defectors, as weak and useless people, they did all they could to keep hold of them and have them work in their bases in the West. In all, the losses were few and Rajavi consolidated his hold over the members’ minds, hearts and lives. (3)
Bijan Niyabati, a left activist of NCRI, has made open confessions regarding emotional and organizational misuse of children within MKO. He has elaborated on such events far beyond what other former MKO members have stated. He confesses openly that Mojahedin indoctrinate children in such a way to make them highly vengeful and aggressive. He also maintains that these innocent children are implanted by ideological relations and principles of their adoptive parents:
On the other hand, there are innocent children whose only sins are to be born in a family engaged in revolutionary struggle without considering the children’s opinion for the sacrifice of majority. Hundreds of such children have to undergo an awful fate. You have to be yourself a child and have experienced such a destiny to develop a full comprehension of such a human tragedy. You have to have been separated from your mother and have been raised by a foster mother to feel the pain of worry and rage suffered by these children. Then you can make a dagger of your tears and sigh and a bullet of your wrath to hit the heart and head of the agents who are responsible for all these human tragedies. So you may have no doubt for unquestionable necessity of overthrowing the regime of whip and gallows. (4)
He acknowledges the fact that the process of separating children from their parents, at the command of the leader of MKO, aims at making children bear the grudge against MKO enemies; a fact referred to by many former MKO members as the most anti-human aspect of ideological revolution. Mojahedin, however, deny the accusation. According to Niyabati, the innocent children are inspired with violence and trained where to surface it while they do not know why they have to do so. The statements made by Niyabati surfaces the hidden dimensions of the awful process taking place inside MKO and they are even more telling than what other MKO’s ex-members expose. He refers to the hegemony and cultist relations onto which children are exposed and these statements work as verified evidences for any international human activist and organization, evidences which unveil the truth about the abuse and exploitation of defenseless children by Mojahedin-e Khalq.
1. Singleton, Ann; “Saddam’s private army”, Iran-Interlink.
4. Niyabati, Bijan; A different look at the ideological revolution within MKO, Khavaran Publication, p.100.
Bahar Irani – Mojahedin.ws – August , 2007